One time after I preached a sermon someone complimented me. I immediately deflected it saying, “Oh, no big deal. That’s just my job. That’s why I get the big bucks, you know.”
Now what kind of response was that? A very bad one. That’s for sure. Was I not good enough to receive a compliment? Was I embarrassed for having preached what I did? Now, had I received the compliment graciously, it would likely have brought a lot of pleasure to the guy who offered the compliment, as he was being quite sincere.
* A simple thank you is enough. You don’t have to give a compliment back every time you are complimented. Just trust that the one complimenting you has good intentions. Just say something very short and simple like, “Thank you so much. That’s kind of you.”
* Don’t offend the person giving the compliment. If the person says, “Good sermon, pastor. I really liked your conclusion,” I should not say, “Well, I didn’t work on that sermon nearly as long as I should have. I’m surprised it made any sense at all.” When I do that I indirectly imply the person does not have good taste in sermons, or whatever it may be for which I am being praised.
* Be assertive (not passive or aggressive) when giving a compliment to someone. Establish eye contact and speak clearly and distinctly. For example, if someone covered your work responsibilities while you were home with the flu, don’t say, “You know, you really didn’t have to do this.” Or worse, “Why did you do all my work? You trying to get my job?” Say instead: “I really appreciate the fact that you helped me so much while I was away with the flu. That was so generous of you. Thank you.”
Just as you should give compliments with gracious assertiveness, you should receive them in the same way.